Episode 84: The SECRET to YoY GROWTH in Enrollment & Helping Families with the Updated FAFSA Deadline with Cynarah A.

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Shiro Hatori
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the higher ed demand gen podcast hosted by concept 3d. If you like our content, please follow or subscribe to us on Spotify, Apple, Google. And if you’re on Apple, please drop us a comment. I love to hear what you think about the show. My name is Shiro Hatori. And I will be your host today. And I’m really looking forward to talking about how to get families invested in the new FAFSA. And the secret to a steady year over year growth in enrollment. For the conversation, I’m very excited to have Sinara contra join us today. She is the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment marketing at the University of Puget Sound. Welcome to the show. Sanada. Hello, thank you sure for having me. Where am I supposed to enter my questions? Oh, no, that’s it. Yeah, no, you’re good to go. And yeah, I asked all my guests this. But what do you love about higher ed?

Cynarah Alcantara
So the thing that I the reason I came to work in higher ed is because I’m a first generation. Oh, what do you call it? First time in college. Sorry,

Shiro Hatori
that’s for sure. She’s the reason

Cynarah Alcantara
I wanted to. The reason I made the jump from sort of traditional corporate career Ed’s because I was the first person in my family to go to college. And one of the ways that I was able to do that was by getting everything pretty much paid for when I went to Middlebury College. And so I’ve always believe in the power of education and what it can do for families. And for somebody like me, who comes from, you know, what is considered a third world country, the Dominican Republic, and moving to the US and going to a school like Middlebury, and graduating from there, all the opportunities. I wanted to be able to be in a place where I can also help all students from all walks of life, to find an educational place that that is for them. But also they can provide that opportunity to me. I just, I just believe in the power of education. And so I wanted to be in a place where I could help students to, to define that as well. And to believe that and, and more specifically, I’m a mental liberal arts college, I also really, truly believe in the power of the arts education, because I have found throughout the years in my career, that a lot of the way that I function today and how I think and how to problem solve came from that foundation of my Middlebury College education. And what I’m going to stop saying Middlebury so much, because Matt’s gonna get upset.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, no. That’s all good. I’ve

Cynarah Alcantara
had to do a lot of editing. Sure. I’m so sorry.

Shiro Hatori
Do you want to start from the top real quick?

Cynarah Alcantara
Yeah, I’ll just do it a lot shorter, because I kind of just I got a little emotional. So no, you’re

Shiro Hatori
good. You know, I’ll start with telling me what you love about higher ed again. Is that okay? Cool. Awesome. Well, so not I love love asking all my guests this. Tell me what you like about higher ed?

Cynarah Alcantara
Um, I am a first time in college.

Shiro Hatori
first generation student? Yes. I don’t know why. No, you’re good. You’re good. Let’s start it over. I got you.

Cynarah Alcantara
Okay, so I’m the first person in my family to go to college, I come from what is considered third world country, the Dominican Republic, and to go, to be able to go to school has afforded me a lot of opportunities in my life. I am right today, because of that education. And so when I got the opportunity to work for the University of Puget Sound, I was really excited to be in an environment that had created so much opportunities for me, because I, I kind of imagined that I was going to be also helping students from all walks of life, to be able to take advantage of education. And, and basically the answer was that I truly believe in the power of education.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, that’s amazing. Thanks so much for sharing that. I know. Also, you know, I’ll ask you about your background, but I do know that you actually made this switch into higher ed. So that’s very fascinating, interesting, as well. So yeah, can you start us off with telling us a little bit more about your background and your role at Puget Sound?

Cynarah Alcantara
Um, yeah, my role. My current role, Pete said is the Assistant Vice President of Enrollment marketing. Our VP of enrollment came about a year before I was hired. And part of the strategic enrollment plan was to bring In some marketing expertise into the admission and Enrollment Department. And so I was hired on to help build a marketing team. We had really great admissions counselors that I that spend some of their time doing marketing, and then getting support from the larger sort of marketing communications team in the university. But with this new leadership, he just felt that given where things are going with all of the changes in the industry, that it might be wise to just have people and enrollment that this is a full time job. So I came in and build the team. So it’s myself and about four other folks. And then we still collaborate with the main University, marketing communications team to support each other. And that’s kind of like what I do how I came to this. I started my career and like, traditional advertising agencies, actually, in San Francisco serving a lot of consumer brands, actually, before x was my first account, the Clorox company that has many, many products. And then I moved over to Washington, from California and started doing, again, more consumer product. I eventually made the switch and started doing tech. So a lot of Microsoft many years Microsoft. And then I’ve also been an entrepreneur, I ran my own marketing agency for many years, it was a multicultural marketing agency and fully integrated, and also had my own publication for five years. And then from there, I moved to what we call the client side, and have managed multiple marketing teams, in every role that I’ve had. Prior to this. I’ve also gone in to restructure or build marketing teams from the ground up. So from strategy to operations, execution, and you’ve seen

Shiro Hatori
I’ve been, that’s amazing. That’s great. And I know, I know, you work with Lindsey Nyquist, as well. She’s been on the show. So quick shout out to Lindsay as well.

Cynarah Alcantara
Yeah, she joined us last day as our Associate Vice President of Marketing Communications. And so her team and my team collaborate on a regular basis. She’s great. That’s

Shiro Hatori
amazing. Thank you. Well, yeah, let’s let’s jump into these topics that we talked about in our introduction call. So I know you’ve been dealing, not just you, obviously. But all of higher ed has been dealing with all the FAFSA delays going on, right? They just extended their timeline, again, to supposedly mid March. And yeah, there’s just a lot of shifts in industry. So can you first tell us kind of what’s going on is just a summary. And then from there, like, how has Puget Sound actually dealt with ongoing delays and issues?

Cynarah Alcantara
Well, in the past, we will start getting FAFSA was around October. And this, you know, this past year, we were told that we were going to because of the changes that were coming that are supposed to simplify the process, but also make sure that for some of the more disadvantaged groups that you know, it was going to help to figure out ways that it would possibly make the education a little bit more affordable. So the net net is that is supposed to help families really, absolutely simplify the process, and hopefully, maybe even figure out better ways to, to, to pay or for their education. However, this new system was supposed to be up and running by the latest in December. And then we were told that it was going to be January and then at the end of January, we’re told that it’s not until March. And one of the things that I think families were maybe not understanding is that what that meant for the universities is that we don’t have the information. Because if even if they put their information on the system, that information hasn’t been coming to us. So therefore there’s nothing that we can do to prepare their, their their financial aid packages are offer. And so one of the things that I’ve appreciated about our leader is that he really brought in his leadership team, so our Data Director of data, our director of admissions, and myself, and also Associate Vice President for Student Financial Services, and just had a lot of communication. And I think one of the things I really appreciated with from him was that I think that a lot of institutions sort of had a knee jerk reaction to make decisions really quickly, like, let’s just, you know, extend the deadline or do this. And instead, we just kind of sat and talked about it. And our Data Director, Martha Wilson, came up with the idea of, why don’t we do a form. And it’s very simple. I was for questions. And it basically said, Excuse me, it was. So very simple form, that it was just one click for for the student, gave him four options. And I said, I don’t plan to submit the FAFSA, I’ve already submitted it, I am trying to submit it, but I’m having trouble. Or I’m going too soon, I plan to write. And so I worked once, right, that had the form ready, I work with my team, and Robin, who is our Director of Undergraduate Admissions, to really make sure that that message was really clear, like, here’s what’s going on. And here’s why we need your information. And if you tell us where you’re at in the process, and we can make sure that we can serve you according to what you say to us. And we had a lot of responses to that, I think within a minute, because I was I was literally meeting and, and clicking. We had like 20, like within a minute. And we ended up with about close to 1500 responses about said that they had already submitted it, which was great. But for the ones that were not planning to, to file it, we we’ve made, you know, we’re like, we’re not going to email you anymore, because now we know, right, we don’t need to do this. And then for the ones that said that they plan to we followed up about a week and a half later and says, Hey, you told us that you plan to we just want to make sure that you tried to do it by the new deadline for that FAFSA, which is February. And then for those that were struggling, it created an opportunity for our admissions counselors to have a touch point with them, because our admissions counselors reached out to those folks. And I think it was a really good way, again, to let parents know, here’s what’s going on. Here’s how we’re trying to support you. And here’s what happens next. And I think that we feel pretty good about it. And again, our our, our leader is always, you know, we have these conversations together. And is great that we’re not like super reacting, that’s not to say that we’re not going to extend our deposit deadline at some point. But right now, we’re just kind of seeing how things, you know, kind of for right, we’re all just kind of in pins and needles waiting for what’s going to happen in the middle of March to see where we’re going to be. But it was great to hear that about 80% of our respondents have already submitted it. So that was really, yeah,

Shiro Hatori
I really liked that. Because you know, instead of just emailing all your applicants, and then asking them to reach out to you. I feel like I think you just sent a simple digital form, right with the four questions via email was, yep,

Cynarah Alcantara
it was it was literally on the email itself. And we could just click on it. Cool. So very simple. Yeah, the other thing is, we also send it to the parents and let them know, Hey, we sent this form to your child. Smart, obviously, we’re not going to be able to fill out the form because it’s through the student portal once late, but at least we let them know, this is what’s going on. And here’s what we have asked your your students to do. And then the other thing also, you know, making sure we had prior to all this. Early on in the process, we have created a FAFSA, like web page that was providing. So of course, we updated that information on the website, trying to keep all of the areas where people might be finding information up to date. The other thing that we did when we were getting a lot of questions to our admission counselors in general about the FAFSA, so we actually ended up sending collecting like an FAQ, or FAFSA and sending in smart students that said, Hey, these are all of the questions that have come in from a lot of folks about the FAFSA. So we actually sent an email that we called FAFSA FAQ as well. And so I think, again, trying to be really thoughtful about the types of communications that we’re sending them so that they know. And not just because we’re just sending you another email, because the thing is, we know that they’re also getting email from other institutions, right. And so we want to be as thoughtful as we can be with every touchpoint that we have. Absolutely.

Shiro Hatori
And I mean, from like an ease of use or like user experience So, I think it’s much easier to like, you know, if I am struggling with it like to just, you know, click a button on on the forum, right? Then it’s to like reply back to an admissions counselor, right? Like, that seems like a much lower lift. And then you guys can know, on the Puget Sound and like, okay, these, these are the students 80% of students don’t need help, you can focus in on, you know, the smaller subset of students, which I think is incredible, right, then you can be more efficient with your outreach, it’s a creates a lower lift for your students and the parents as well. So it’s kind of like, you know, it’s both ends are happy with the process. And I think that’s super smart. And I love I love the FAQ portion as well. Because if you get it, you know, answer, if you get asked a question more than once, like, it’s probably valuable for a lot of people. So creating a content asset from it will help again, the parent or the student, and then it’ll also help you your end, in terms of like having to answer questions. So both incredible. We’re also

Cynarah Alcantara
trying to lower the burden on all the admissions counselor because I’ve been doing this, and they’re all getting similar questions. And so we send them an email, and then we put it on our web page as well, right. So that if a if a, if a counselor does get a question, they can always say, Oh, great use. But if you have any other questions, here’s where you can go. Right. So

Shiro Hatori
yeah, that’s great. And on the topic of you know, including families and parents, I know that you actually held a financial aid like virtual event as well. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Yes. So

Cynarah Alcantara
we have started, I think, since last year, I think we had done them before, but we would do in later in the cycle. And so I think last year, in this year, we decided to do it earlier, you know, we internal conversations, whether we should still keep that virtual. Yeah, financial aid. And, you know, we we wanted to do it, because we knew that even though a lot of it was going to focus on FAFSA, it gave us an opportunity to speak to folks, you know, in the in today’s version of face to face, right, with families outside of just an email, communication. And so we had our Associate Vice President of Student Financial Service, and our Director of Undergraduate Admission, and we had kind of a fires, fire, side shot type thing. And we held an hour of just fielding their questions. I mean, I think, clearly they introduce themselves and do a little bit, but it was really just to answer the questions. And so we had close to 200 registered for that. And then, you know, obviously, there’s a, there’s some, some people that don’t show up there, but that we felt pretty good about it, we felt good about the conversations that we’re having, and being able to ease a little bit of the angst that all families are feeling right now. Right? This is very stressful for everybody. And so we just want to say, hey, we get it. It’s stressful. And we’re here, and we’re here to support you. And we’re gonna answer your questions. And so it was a really, yes event that we have. And we have another one scheduled for March, that, you know, depending on where we what we get from the FAFSA, we might have to move or not. But I think again, it’s just being there for families and supporting them.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, and in for the listeners who, you know, don’t know much about Puget Sound, it is a smaller institution. And so like, I don’t know, the exact undergrad count, but it’s roughly over to somewhere over 2000. And so 200 families is a lot just just in that, but the fact that I didn’t know this before the call, but you told me 80% Of the students filled out on the form that they had successfully father FASFA, right. So that means like, that’s not a big percentage, you know, that are having issues. So it’s pretty incredible. You got 200 families to sign up, because that’s like probably more than people who answered that they’re having issues with the FAFSA filing. So that’s great.

Cynarah Alcantara
That number is about 5.3% that we’re having troubles. Okay.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, no, that’s Yeah, so 200 is a lot, right. Like, you know, there’s not a school with 40,000 undergrads. So given that it’s

Cynarah Alcantara
about 2000. And our undergraduates is about 2000. And then, yeah, like I said, we had close to 200 registered, but obviously, we we didn’t have everyone show up. So.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, and then just final thoughts, just like, you know, dealing with all the communication around FAFSA and all the delays, right. I think one thing you recommended, just as keeping the communication, just simple and supportive, and, and that usually translates to being effective. Can you tell us a little bit more about that as well?

Cynarah Alcantara
Well, just just very clear, I had I don’t have any proof for this, but I just had this distinct feeling that Yeah, everybody’s hearing FAFSA delays and FAFSA, this and FAFSA that but I don’t know if families actually knew that So that what that meant was that we were not getting information. So the first part of the email was just explaining, like, hey, this news came out. And this is what it means. It means that until we get this information, which, which now we’re being told, is not until March, we’re not going to be able to deliver your full package, because we’ve already released our merit or merit Aid Awards. But you know, the need base we can not, we’re not able to, to determine that because we need this information. So I think I wanted to make sure that we were very clear from the beginning, this is what’s happening. And in order to serve you better, you, you can help us by letting us know where you are in the process. So that then we can figure out how to serve you. And in some cases, that meant that we just left people alone, right? Yeah, asking them to do this one thing, right and over again. And so that’s basically where we focused it. And then with a follow up communications with, with the rest, whether it was a you know, from the admissions counselors themselves, or was it a follow up with that FAQ? Or with like, Hey, you told us you plan to we just want to remind you that you should be doing it.

Shiro Hatori
That’s phenomenal. Yeah, I’m learning a lot. I brought up some of the things you’ve told me in our intro call with several other guests. And they’re like, Oh, that’s a great idea. So you know, I love all the good work you’ve been doing. And I hope you know, that section that we just talked about, provide some value for other enrollment, folks. So that’s great. Well, switching gears slightly, a little bit still on the topic of enrollment, obviously, is, you know, in your two and a half years or so, with Puget Sound, I know. You, you and your team have been able to see an increase in enrollment, I think 14%, specifically a little over that. But year over year, and yeah, I’m just curious of all the different new marketing initiatives, you and your team have put together that have helped to reach that increase in enrollment year over year.

Cynarah Alcantara
Great, thank you. I want to just again, give credit to Martha Wilson and our team who did the farm not made that we’ve worked together on everything else. But yeah, that numbers from last year, obviously, we don’t know where our numbers are going to land this year and everything with especially with the FAFSA. But yes, last year, we had 14.3% increase in enrollment. You know, I came the year in the, in the cycle prior. And we did go up a little bit that year, but I came like November 1, which is our first deadline for our early decision and early applications. But, you know, since day one, I just kind of just started to look at everything, right? You come in you and it’s like, okay, let’s look at emails, and let’s look at our audiences. And I think one of the things that, again, because we had really amazing admission counselors that were doing marketing on the side, there was limited capacity, right to, to what they could do in terms of thinking long term. And a lot of it was just getting, you know, doing the thing that’s different. So a lot of the focus was almost kind of on that, like rising senior versus a lot further. So one of the things that I really wanted to do was really think about our audience. When I think about marketing, you know, that’s usually where I start. And so I kind of have to say, Okay, we have multiple audiences here, right? Like, they’re not the same, they don’t really think of it the same way. And even for the students themselves as the way they’re thinking about it, their sophomore in the Union two year might be completely different than how they’re thinking about it in their senior year. And not only that, like how you think about it, while you’re applying versus when you get accepted, versus when you’re considering. And so I really try to think of the cycle itself, and also the audiences. And so what is the most relevant message that I can give each of these audiences at that sort of point in time, right. So in a bow, application push, just information in general about our organization, when I looked at emails, or emails were very similar from our prospect, you know, and I basically said, you know, these prospect things. They’re very just pushing Puget Sound. And I said, when you’re kind of starting to look, I want to provide them information that’s helping them determine the kind of school that they want to, so more of a resource and then we can plug it in, by the way, here’s Puget Sound. So like, for example, we’re in our first females was big school or small school, right? And so like, we kind of talked about, like, you need to determine what kind of an institution is going to be best for you as small ours are a big institution. And we kind of talked about like, here are the benefits of going to a big one, he has a benefits and then to a small one. And then by the way, we’re small one, if you want to consider us. And then things like, I think our second one, which had a huge open rate at the time was a we called a major drama, like, how do you think about figuring out your major, and then he really plugged in at the end that, you know, you don’t have to decide that right away at Puget Sound, and that you can really explore a lot of options before you even need to decide. And so what we saw in emails, for example, was that average open rate of emails prior to when we started to really think about the students and the cycles. So you’re thinking about moving them from prospect to inquiry, when from like, average of 18% to like 45%, and sometimes something over 50. And even now that we’ve kind of done that over two years, and we continue to tweak it, and we actually every year, just sit down and be like, Okay, let’s look at our what were the most effective emails, and why. And then we tweak. And then so here’s like, So, interestingly enough, the first year that we did all that we actually were able to move from, because then obviously, let me backtrack. So that was like moving people from suspects, or prospects to inquiries. And then for inquiries, we started to really dig in more into why Puget Sound right, like now we start to talk to you more about that. And then the other thing that we did, for example, and now this is really fully fleshed out, was also do communications. For applicants as well, we didn’t really do a lot of communications for applicants. So we could have a student that apply in August, and they weren’t hear from us until December. And so we actually started another drip campaign for applicants where we give them slightly different information. So we’re thinking about every, every aspect of the of the, of the process. And then for you really starting to think about what is the things that are going to help me make this decision. And now I have to envision myself here. So we really started talking about very specific things on campus, very specific things in the city, for them to envision themselves here. And so one of the things that I’m that I was excited about the last two years is that we were able to convert inquiries to applicant, it was about 14%, the first year. And then last year, which is when we had our our biggest Roman yield. We actually went almost a 22% from inquiry to application. Wow. And so and so we have really, with our team really thought about all the process. So for yield, again, picture yourself here. That was kind of like the how we thought about it. The other big thing, right, there’s a student, but we know that the students have a circle of influence. So we started to do more conservative communications to their guidance counselor. So like, in early September, we send more of a newsletter to to counsel, this is here’s everything that you need to know to support your students from deadlines, to events, to process to requirements, all of that is

Shiro Hatori
to their high school, high school counselors. Is that to the high school? Okay, okay. Okay.

Cynarah Alcantara
And then the other big one that we know, because everybody’s saying parents are cool, again, is that its parents, right. So now we started to also really think about, yeah, communicating with parents and thinking about, well, what do I think about and of course, I actually am a sophomore in high school. And a lot of this comes from me thinking like, what would I care about, but also just I also go to a lot of webinars and look at the data. But you know, parents care about outcomes, parents care about safety, parents care about cost of education, parents care about resources. So we try to give information to parents about the things that we think they’re going to care about. And we try to give to students what students care about is interesting, because up until recently, we thought the students weren’t as concerned about outcomes and their future. And now my data and every little thing that I have multiple things, is telling me that the new incoming class and the ones after that they’re really concerned about outcomes are really concerned about their so now we’re starting to shift our message to include some of that in addition to like, picture yourself here, which where am I going to, you know, we have this really cool thing called that what are the other 153 and this is not a concept that I came up with. This is something that

Shiro Hatori
was that. Sorry, I missed that. What was that other 153 hours? Okay.

Cynarah Alcantara
So this is a concept that I think are our director of events. that he had like a sheet that talked about that, right? And we’re like, why don’t we turn that into email? Right? Like, you only go to class for X amount of time. But there’s all this time, like, what do you do with these 153 hours. And so then we really started to tell them about, like, you know, here’s the coffee shops, you can go, here’s all of the clubs, and whatever it is sports. So we also took that concept into emails, as well to kind of show students that there’s so much more to college, right, like some of them are so concerned about their major and what is going to be, but we know they’re concerned about fitting in, right? And so why don’t we get that as well. And one of the things that we even have, as part of that initial campaign for prospects is that we actually start to tell people early on, like, what kind of student comes to Puget Sound, because, you know, we want students that have a higher affinity for us as we keep moving them down the funnel. And so, you know, if we, if that’s why the big schools will school was one of our were first ones because it’s like, here’s a perfect example, I have two step kids, and they are definitely big school material. They just sports and cheerleader bubble. They love that. My daughter is more of an artist. She’s totally Puget Sound material. And so we already know that right? And so you kind of have to start somewhere. And then okay, well, now that I know well, what kind of programs do they have? What kind of culture do they have in there? What is the student to faculty interaction? What are the opportunities for me? So really thinking about all of the things that I think I really emphasize, for my team, for us to really think about, put ourselves in the shoes, and I have one of the person in my team, she graduated from Puget Sound not too long ago. And I was like, what was it like for you? And then when we have our student, or student workers, we I asked him all the time, I’m like, what, what were you doing? Like, why do you come here? Were you looking at a social media, I’m constantly asking questions of everybody. Because I’m also, you know, I’m not the target, I’m going to be the target as a mom, but as a student, as a, you know, as a young person. So it’s really a lot goes back to that, really trying to understand your audience and what they care about where they’re at. And so we were very pleased. With that increase in enrollment. Last year, I don’t know where we’re gonna be this year, honestly, with everything that’s going on. And then you know, all of the, the increase in the open rates for our emails. And even, you know, with our social, we write, we have now a strong social team. And we were able to launch our tic toc at the end of October, and we’ve had well over 100,000 views on our videos, really focus on our Instagram as well. And that’s going up. So just like I, I spent a lot of time looking over the data from just the marketing side of things. And then, um, I appreciate that our VP map voice doctor, my voice, he’s really focused on data on that enrollment side. And then we have Martha. And so I just appreciate that you’re really focused on data. And we try to really use that data to, to pivot and do that as quickly as possible. And it’s great to be within that within the department, because we can do it really quickly. Sometimes we’re literally crafting an email that morning, because of something we saw intended. And now we have a very detailed plan for everything. But when we need to quickly pivot to, to this type of communication, because of what’s going on, we’re able to do it. Yeah,

Shiro Hatori
this is this is all amazing. I think. I think if we could take the last 15 minutes of what you just said, we could create like a how to guide on finding your audience, how to break apart your audience into segments within the enrollment funnel, because you broke that down very nicely. And what kind of content or, you know, in terms of like, just, you know, email content or content with call to actions, where to send them, where to send them to, based on where they fit in that funnel. It’s which is really great. And, you know, I think it all ties to, to, you know, the reasons why students are attending school, which you talked about outcomes a little bit as well. So I think this is all fantastic. We actually just launched a poll where we think polled 500 students about, you know, what are what’s most important to them for commitment day, which was really interesting. And one of the, one of the most so most students answered that making the right choice was their biggest fear of, of commitment day. And so like I think all those things you just outlined in the email from just you know, trying to educate them on you know what Are they looking for smaller school, smallest class sizes are bigger, you know, school with a football team, right? And moving from there to really help explain, you know, what Puget Sound is and what the school stands for, and what the campus is like, helps kind of address that fear of making the right choice. So, all right, I think that was, that was all really great.

Cynarah Alcantara
Yeah. And I think the thing that we’re also trying to do more of is, is basically trying to tell have our students tell that story. So we do a lot of Day in the Life via email or via social, because we know that students want to hear from students and even parents want to hear about the student experience, because when we have our events here, the parents love to go to the student panels and ask the same questions that they asked her administrators. And I always think is great, right? Because they’re like, are they going to match? Right? So um, that’s one thing. Um, I think the other thing that I didn’t mention that we also have done was really a big focus of anti male, for example. So my first year, I have my first cycle, I did a very comprehensive what we call enrollment, FAQs. And the idea behind that was like, hey, our, our admission counselors are not available all the time. But a lot of the conversations are happening after hours with families, right? Yeah, it’s happening in a table. It’s happening right before you’re going to bed. And I was like, What about like, because I do this? If you have a question to two in the morning, or seven o’clock at night, and nobody. So we try to think of every single aspect like, can I bring a hot pot to my dorm room? Where am I going to park? Like, what about if I’m sick, and so we try to think about all that. And then we also develop what we call the new student website, which is a hub that has all of the information that incoming students are going to need from you know, the orientation dates to all of the due dates to all of the things that are happening. And with the enrollment FAQs, even though it’s kind of an anti mouthpiece. We also use it as a yield tool to have students as their attorneys that have those questions, have those answers as well. And so that’s another thing that we focus again, thinking about the entire cycle from application to, to yield to NT Mal, and thinking about all the touchpoints of communications. And so that was another thing that I think was has done really well for us. And we’ve also seen no melt in the last two cycles. And I think part of it is that but part of it is that also our admissions director and his team have really focused on providing a lot of support for those families during that space, and also our Student Financial Services as well. Being able to answer the questions and make themselves available, we have had like office hours kind of setups, for families to connect with Student Financial Services, tutoring, so that those questions can be answered for them as well. So this is great. I don’t take all the credit. It’s been a huge team effort across the board. And I’m just very, one of the things that I think has helped me is that Dr. Boyce, my RBP, he’s been really good at just like, letting us try things, and also providing the support, we need to experiment, right. Like, one of the things that I didn’t mention, too, in addition to all the stuff we talked about, was also meeting those students that were they from a language standpoint. So when we came a lot of the emails were very institutional, which is great, we’re a prestigious university, we should, but You’re 17, right. So he kind of like just toned it down from that institutional voice. Student, we still keep a level of, of, you know, professionalism and prestige for how we talk to parents and how we talked, you know, to our graduates, for example. But that was another thing. And I think that you also need to have a leadership that’s going to allow you to do and try these things. And for me, not coming from higher ed, I had a lot of support from a director of under graduate admissions, and just working with them all the time and doing good checks. I’m like, you know, I want to kind of go this way. But I also know that higher ed is different, I want to make sure that I’m not going to, like really mess it up here. I want to make sure that we’re not that this is not going to be so different that we’re going to be off putting to someone right. And so there’s been a lot of that. And so I think having a strong team from all aspects of the enrollment, sort of Office is really important to be successful as well. And I have that with Martha and data and with Robin and admission and obviously with our leader and with SFS. I think I mentioned that last year we spent a lot of time doing financial literacy hubs this year was hard to do. because of a FISA, yeah, we’ve worked really closely with the Student Financial Services staff to, to get information from them to do little videos. And it was great because we we we saw an increase to our net price calculator pages, we saw increase in FAFSA submissions the prior year from

Shiro Hatori
a group effort. Oh, that’s amazing. That’s great. And yeah, shout out to good leadership that lets their teams some agency to do their work. Because I think that’s, that’s very key to the world we live in today. And especially in higher ed, where we need to move faster I think, than previously before. Also love the term anti male, I might start using that because we usually say like, reduce melt in because we publish content on reduction of melt as well. And so I might, I might take that from you if that’s okay. I like anti melt. Not fun. It’s

Cynarah Alcantara
not my boss told me. I was like, Okay, now I have to develop a plan that

I didn’t even know. And you know, and now, like, it’s very specific to like enrollment, folks, I think, yeah, I didn’t know what it was. I was like, What do you mean, aunty? Well, that’s kind of what you know what I think about because one of the things I had to do to really wrap around my head around higher education was to really understand these things. So I was like, Okay, well, let me think about this. This is this is application push. This is yield. This is anti Mal. And here’s the activities that we do. And here’s the audience’s and so I kind of did this, this visual that, you know, that’s when my manager was like, Oh, you get it? I was like, Yeah, well, you explained it pretty well. Still. There we go. And so it’s not my term. I don’t know where it came from. But I learned it here through through my manager. So

Shiro Hatori
anti mouse. Well, you know, we’re just set about time right now and I’m wondering where our listeners can, you know, connect with you to understand all the good work you’re doing.

Cynarah Alcantara
Um, you know, I’m on LinkedIn. See nada Kendra. I know that’s really hard to spell but you’ll you’ll have a spell somewhere and then also, you guys can email me at my Puget Sound email, which is my first initial and my last name at Puget Sound that edu. And yeah, I would love to connect with other folks. I’m a fairly new two and a half years. I feel like everybody of me has been doing it for so long. And there’s so much more than learn so

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining and thanks for our listeners for tuning in today.

Cynarah Alcantara
All right. Well, thank you.

Shiro Hatori
Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

We want Rice to be a welcoming destination for art, music, lectures, food, athletic events, lectures – a great place to visit just to enjoy the beauty of our campus. [The Concept3D] mapping system will help people find those amenities and explore those opportunities.

Linda Thrane, Vice President of Public Affairs, Rice University
Concept3D’s photospheres really allow us to show rather than tell what separates our studios from others.
Corepower Yoga
The CMS makes integrating our data feeds a simple, easy process. We can update our content feed once and it updates within the CMS and our map simultaneously.
Robby Sietz, Webmaster, Ole Miss
Our residents are getting more savvy with technology and they will certainly appreciate a tool that guides them from location to location on our campus. Concept3D’s wayfinding capability was the immediate draw for us, but the map and interactive media have been valuable for depicting a bird’s eye view in print materials, or when scheduling an onsite visit. Residents, visitors and even staff find a lot of utility and functionality in Concept3d, and we often hear compliments about our beautiful map.
Mike Haber, Digital Media Manager, Shell Point
Vantage is committed to exceptional customer service, and the technology developed by Concept3D helps us work closely with potential clients, give them an incredible preview of the data center and offer a compelling way for them to explore the critical details of our facilities.
Steven Lim, Marketing Vice President, Vantage Data Centers
We saw the potential of Concept3D’s platform right away, and it was amazing to see our space come to life in a fully interactive 3D map. We know the platform will improve the overall guest and attendee experience, and we’re excited for all the ways that we can use it for both internal and external needs moving forward.
John Adams, General Manager, Colorado Convention Center

The biggest challenge for [Claremont Graduate University] was lack of a centralized map system entirely. Roughly 30 different maps existed on our website pre-[Concept3D], created by various departments to meet their own needs.

Claremont Graduate University

The new virtual campus map is particularly helpful to showcase our campus to prospective students and families who are not quite ready or able to physically visit campus. International students are a great example of a group who typically do not visit our campus before enrolling, but really value getting a birds-eye view of the place they’re considering calling home.

Admissions Director at Boise State

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